Melissa Block Melissa Block is a special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs.
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Melissa Block

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Melissa Block at NPR- Vertical
Allison Shelley/NPR

Melissa Block

Special Correspondent and Host

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.

As co-host of All Things Considered from 2003 to 2015, Block's reporting took her everywhere from the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the heart of Rio de Janeiro; from rural Mozambique to the farthest reaches of Alaska.

Her riveting reporting from Sichuan, China, during and after the massive earthquake in 2008 brought the tragedy home to millions of listeners around the world. At the moment the earthquake hit, Block had the presence of mind to record a gripping, real-time narration of the seismic upheaval she was witnessing. Her long-form story about a desperate couple searching in the rubble for their toddler son was singled out by judges who awarded NPR's earthquake coverage the top honors in broadcast journalism: the George Foster Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award.

Now, as special correspondent, Block continues to engage both the heart and the mind with her reporting on issues from gun violence to adult illiteracy to opioid addiction.

In 2017, she traveled the country for the series "Our Land," visiting a wide range of communities to explore how our identity is shaped by where we live. For that series, she paddled along the Mississippi River, went in search of salmon off the Alaska coast, and accompanied an immigrant family as they became U.S. citizens. Her story about the legacy of the Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta earned her a James Beard Award in 2018.

Block is the recipient of the 2019 Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, awarded by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.

Block began her career at NPR in 1985 as an editorial assistant for All Things Considered, and rose through the ranks to become the program's senior producer.

She was a reporter and correspondent in New York from 1994 to 2002, a period punctuated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Her reporting after those attacks helped earn NPR a George Foster Peabody Award. Block's reporting on rape as a weapon of war in Kosovo was cited by the Overseas Press Club of America in awarding NPR the Lowell Thomas Award in 1999.

Block is a 1983 graduate of Harvard University and spent the following year on a Fulbright fellowship in Geneva, Switzerland. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband — writer Stefan Fatsis — and their daughter.

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Story Archive

Tim Foley, the founder of Arizona Border Recon and Maggie Milinovitch, the co-owner of La Gitana Cantina, both live in the small border town of Arivaca, Ariz. The recent militia group presence has put strains on a town that has long prided itself on its live-and-let-live, cooperative spirit. Dominic Valente for NPR hide caption

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Dominic Valente for NPR

Militias Test The Civility Of An Arizona Border Town

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In college, Laurie Halse Anderson thought she might become a translator — and in a way, she did. "I translate imagination onto the page," she says. Randy Fontanilla/Penguin Random House hide caption

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Randy Fontanilla/Penguin Random House

20 Years After 'Speak,' Laurie Halse Anderson Tells Her Own Story In 'Shout'

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Mary Kay Place plays Diane in Diane, the debut feature film by director Kent Jones. Courtesy of IFC Films hide caption

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Courtesy of IFC Films

In 'Diane,' An Older Woman Faces Up To Her 'Unlived Life'

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"I just sing what I feel," Mary Lane says. Collin Susich /Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Collin Susich /Courtesy of the artist

At 83, Mary Lane Upholds The Blues Tradition: 'I Still Got It'

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Jeremy Denk's new album c.1300-c.2000 traces seven centuries of classical music. Michael Wilson/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Michael Wilson/Courtesy of the artist

Jeremy Denk's Musical Odyssey Through 7 Centuries Of Music

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Saudi activist and campaigner Aziza al-Yousef, pictured in 2016, is on trial this week in the capital, Riyadh. She has been detained since last May. Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Opinion: Saudi Women's Rights Activists Awarded For Their Work — While On Trial

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One year after Carmen's death, April Schentrup stands beside a photograph of her daughter that was used during her funeral but now rests in the family's new home. April, who worked as an elementary school principal near Parkland, Fla., now advocates for gun reform. Alyse Young for NPR hide caption

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Alyse Young for NPR

Parkland Family Reflects On A Year Of Anguish And Activism

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Claire Harbage/NPR

There's No Rest For Anyone In 'The Dreamers'

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Student activists from Parkland, Fla., quickly mobilized after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, becoming a vocal force calling for tighter gun laws. That movement led to mass "March for Our Lives" demonstrations around the country in March. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Alex Brandon/AP

2018 Brought A 'Tectonic Shift' In The Gun Control Movement, Advocates Say

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Dr. Emmy Betz, a co-founder of the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition, led a meeting of the group at the Centennial Gun Club. "If you want to reduce suicide deaths, you have to talk about firearms," Betz says. "And if you want to reduce firearm deaths, you have to talk about suicide." Theo Stroomer for NPR hide caption

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Theo Stroomer for NPR

Gun Shops Work With Doctors To Prevent Suicide By Firearm

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Helping a spouse or parent who has dementia steer clear of hazards can include ridding the home of all guns. Nicole Xu for NPR hide caption

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Nicole Xu for NPR

Firearms And Dementia: How Do You Convince A Loved One To Give Up Their Guns?

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Cameron Pollack/NPR

How The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Began In A Mother's Living Room Lab

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In Chicago, The Obamas' Civic Engagement Programs Are In Action

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